Kia ora, I’m Jean and I’m an English honours student at the University of Otago. The communication skills I’ve learned through the study of English literature have empowered me to speak up about suicide prevention and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Three years ago, my brother John died from suicide. He was only eighteen years old. New Zealand has the worst teen (15-19) suicide rate in the developed world, and the second worst youth (25 and under) suicide rate. Given that the annual rates have remained largely unchanged for about two decades, we obviously haven’t been doing enough for our young people. For Silverline, I’ll be talking about breaking down this stigma, and what we can do to help those struggling.